The Fredericktown School Board was visited by two student athletes, March 15, during its regularly monthly meeting.
Brandon Dowd, soccer, and Makayla Tourville, softball, have both signed with Mineral Area College to continue their athletic careers in the fall.
“I cannot think of a better player to exemplify how I’ve wanted our program to turn around then with how Makayla has worked hard for the past 4 years,” FHS Softball Coach Cody Huff said. “I really appreciate how she has really instilled in the younger players the way the program should be. She also is now the leading all time batting average of the entire school district and I really appreciate her playing.”
Fredericktown High School Athletic Director Derrick Eaves read a statement on behalf of FHS Boy’s Soccer Coach Jamie McCoy who was not able to attend the meeting.
“Brandon Dowd is what should epitomize Fredericktown Blackcats High School,” McCoy wrote. “He is an extremely hard worker, doesn’t get involved with anything negative in school or out of school, and he looks to get better at everything he does. This includes working on the soccer field to get better or working at his chosen craft at Unitec to get better.”
McCoy said he is so proud of Dowd for taking the opportunity to play soccer at MAC next year.
“I know he is working already to be mentally and physically fit for the challenge,” McCoy said. “Brandon has had a job as long as I have known him and manages to attend school, play soccer and balance his job all at the same time.”
McCoy said, off the field, Dowd made the adult decision to get rid of his truck and instead switch to a vehicle that gets better gas mileage to make his drive back and forth more manageable. On the field, Dowd would have probably made the all-district team one or two more years but rather than just worry about himself, he came to McCoy and offered to play positions that the team needed covered.
“Most players don’t think of those things,” McCoy said. “Brandon has the ability to seek the big picture in everything. Brandon was in fact all-district this year, and as fun as it will be to watch him play at MAC, it will be even more rewarding to look out further and see the man that he becomes. He truly is one of the good ones.”
The board offered each student a card of recognition and Superintendent Chadd Starkey congratulated them both once again.
“We are very proud of you being students here in Fredericktown,” Starkey said. “Good luck when you head off to MAC. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish.”
Regarding the FHS track project, the board approved the first pay order in the amount of $140,239.95. Austin Place from Byrne and Jones came to the board to discuss a change order for the project which will roughly cost $36,000.
“We were excavating and moving forward when we found that your subgrade is not suitable to build on,” Place said. “Basically when we are running loaded trucks down it is starting to rut up and it is pretty soft. With a soft subgrade we need to fix that. Otherwise it will settle over time and cause a whole bunch of problems down the line.”
Place said it will take 81 tons of lime to stabilize the ground, and crews will need to bring in three fully loaded trucks from Ste. Genevieve.
“It is a very involved process because basically we are going to bring in this lime, then we are going to dump it,” Place said. “Next, we are going to spread this lime out. Then we till it all in. It goes 12 inches deep into your subgrade, so we till it all in. As it is being tilled, behind it we will then have sheep’s foot compact it back into place. Then we have to have a water truck water it so it hydrates the lime and activates the lime, that helps harden the subsurface.”
Place said, as the subsurface starts to harden, it will grow and need to be regraded to the specified elevation for the design. He said all of these steps will have to happen simultaneously because once the lime is added the surface will continued to harden over time.
During a prior meeting, the architect hired by R-I discussed the possibility of a water issue coming up and suggested setting aside a portion of funding to address the possible issue. The board approved the change order.
Starkey said the district has had six snow days, five AMI days and three half days. He made the recommendation and the board approved setting the last day of school for May 24.
The board also approved the 2022-2023 calendar, adding two teacher work days, two professional development days, and 9 minutes to the school day.
Starkey said instruction time will begin at 7:55 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. He said most kids were already at the school by this time anyway and students really should not notice much of a difference.
“I don’t think it is going to be too noticeable, but that 9 minutes gives us a lot of freedom in the schedule,” Starkey said. “We actually gained time even with having a day less. This schedule is 167 days instead of 168, which is what we have this year, but the hour total is more; 1,087 instead of 1,069 from the previous year.”
Starkey said this schedule brings Fredericktown R-I closer to some of the neighboring districts to the north.
“This will be a 6.55 hour instructional day, we are at 6.4 right now,” Starkey said. “Farmington and Central are at about 6.7. They have a longer class day. This gets us a little bit closer to that without causing our buses to be later or the kids to be outside too early.”
Fredericktown Intermediate School Principal Nickey Reutzel gave an overview of the inner workings of FIS.
Reutzel explained how students are monitored both behaviorally and educationally in order to make sure no student is left behind. She showed the board three tiered pyramids used to monitor student progress.
“We try to make sure they are moving,” Reutzel said. “This what we look at as a whole and we want to make sure the top tier of the triangles are getting smaller. Green is tier I, which is classroom kids. Yellow is our tier II, that means they are getting pulled out for thirty minutes of instruction, and then the red is students in tier III and they get an extra thirty minutes of instruction every other day.”
Reutzel said students are celebrated when they are dismissed from tier services.
“We try to make those accomplishments something really special,” Reutzel said. “Some of these kids have been in title since they were in kindergarten, so I think it is pretty cool that they get to do that.”
From the elementary, to the intermediate and then on to the middle school the buildings all work together to keep all of the R-I students on track and share information so no student is left behind.
“I like that we see there is the alignment between buildings,” Starkey said. “That is an important thing as far as trying to increase the student achievement, improve behaviors and help students grow in all areas. If we can be consistent and really watch out for those kids that are starting to fall behind, then I think we are going in the right direction. I’m not saying we don’t need to improve, but we have some structure and systems in place that can be very beneficial in the future as we move forward.”
In other business, the board members were recognized for their service to the community, district, students and staff.
“We do appreciate you,” Starkey said. “It is countless hours that we spend working on issues trying to help improve things for our students and that doesn’t go unnoticed. We would also like to mention that this could be Kent’s (Marler) last meeting. I think what, 7 years now, you have been on the board. We are very thankful for your service to the school and kids. We appreciate it very much. You helped to make our school better.”
The next meeting of the Fredericktown School Board will be at 5:30 p.m., April 19 at the district offices.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com